Aegina Home & Living - Living in Aegina

 

 

 


LIVING IN AEGINA

What is it REALLY like to live in Aegina?

 

                                                           LIVING

 

LIVING

MARCH 2008


 


 

CHILDRENS’ BIRTHDAY PARTIES

When we lived in London, children’s birthday parties were a costly, expensive affair, requiring invitations to be sent out well in advance, usually to the whole class at school. If to be held at home, one needed to consider the expense of hiring an entertainer and then producing a party-bag to send the children home with, not just a simple bag with a few sweets but a substantial gift.

If hosted outside the family home, one would have to consider an age-related theme, football parties for boys or a trip to the cinema followed by a feast at a local restaurant. Either way, a party could easily cost a three figured sum.

On party days, my children received at least thirty expensive, usually useless gifts which took almost an hour to open, didn’t make them any happier and presented a new problem of where to put them

When we arrived in Aegina, the time coincided with our eldest son’s 12th birthday. He decided to invite the whole class (15 children as opposed to 30 in London) and after researching what was expected of us, we were delighted to learn that invitations were to be issued a day or two before the event and party food was to be home-cooked and nutritious.

Themes and entertainers were not the norm and if anything, were considered a little showy. (This may not be the case in the city)

So at 6pm one October Saturday evening, 15 children arrived, each bearing a wide smile and clutching a colored paper bag; some  of these bags bore ceramic ornaments  or ribbons which contrasted with the main bag color, but each contained a present. The presents were a mug bearing the name of my son’s favorite football team, a pair of gloves, pens and exercise books for school, cologne, a packet of sweets, a reading book. One child brought a polystyrene box which contained the most delicious bite -size balls of ice-cream coated in chocolate. These presents were truly appreciated, were inexpensive, beautifully packaged and therefore looked special. More importantly, they were useful items which didn’t require masses of cupboard space.

The children played Twister, Hide and seek, Spin-the-bottle or they simply chatted. Not one of them was interested in watching a video I had hired should they feel bored.

They fully appreciated the meat-balls, tzatziki, salad and pizza that I had provided and particularly enjoyed my home-made chocolate cake, something for which I have become a legend and nowadays, my youngest gets asked in advance if her mother will be making chocolate cake.

Adults trickled in to collect their children and stayed for a drink and something to eat. Later, the rug was rolled back and the dancing started, authentic Greek dancing where we locked arms and moved together in a rhythmic, connected circle to the island music of Parios.

Shortly after midnight, the party ended but we had all had a wonderful time where we got high on each others’ company and abandoned ourselves to the art of enjoyment that the Greeks are so capable of.

PARTY PROTOCOL:

DO;

Send out invitations one or two days before.

Write a start time but be cautious of writing an end time; it is considered rude. Greeks assume that they will be busy for the whole evening. Nevertheless, if you are unable to give up a whole evening, have the party on a Sunday evening as the children are usually collected by 9 pm in preparation for school the next day.

Be prepared for other family members to arrive. Siblings and cousins often arrive at parties with the invited guest.

Be prepared for parents to stay when they collect their children. Offer them a drink and something to eat. Therefore, always have plenty of food available

DON’T:

Don’t be scared to offer Greeks ’new’ food. They love trying new dishes and always appreciate anything that is home-made.

Don’t prepare party bags. They are not the norm and why set a precedent?

Don’t take no for an answer. Greeks, particularly children, sometimes say no out of politeness, particularly in relation to offers of more food. Be insistent until you are convinced the no is a true no.

Don’t worry about the children not having enough to do. They are usually good at entertaining themselves. In our experience though, younger children enjoy pass-the-parcel, particularly if each wrapper contains a forfeit (written in Greek) as well as a sweet

 

Alison Lorentzos      Copyright 2008

 

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